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Literacy Retreat 2012


Redefining How We Read Chapter Books

Some retreat participants were missing page 2 of this session’s handout. We apologize for this error.

Developed by two of the lead authors of the CCSS and revised through conversations with teachers, researchers, and other stakeholders, these criteria are designed to guide publishers and school districts in the materials they create for implementation of the new Common Core State Standards.


Suggested Titles:

  • Checkout the Chapter Book List with Lexile Ranges that we put together for you. NOTE: This is the revised version that includes the Lexile ranges and category codes. This version is more up-to-date than the one in your handout appendix.
  • You’ll want to screen new chapter book titles. Common Sense Media offers a great site for screening books/movies for content appropriateness (language, violence, etc.). It includes age-level recommendations as well as content-specific spoiler alerts.
  • When students are “hot” on a book they just finished, nudge them to find a similar text at What Should I Read Next?
  • Add e-books to students’ virtual bookshelves on their iPads and check in on what they’ve been reading using the Storia app by Scholastic

When you’re ready for more chapter-book recommendations, checkout these sources for lists, summaries, and reviews.

Make your read alouds more engaging with tips from Lester Laminack’s book Unwrapping the Read Aloud.

Pique student interest with Prop Predictions.

Slim the text (and make it move faster) by showing small portions of the movie-version of a book in lieu of reading every word aloud in class. Identify the page number of the text that the movie clip will cover and discuss the reading/viewing purpose. Checkout some of these examples. Download the Now Playing editable template in PowerPoint.

Kristina shared several ways to encourage students to share their thinking during class discussions. Read the article “Talking in Class: Remembering What is Important About Classroom Talk” that was published in The Reading Teacher. Kristina had several big ahas that might also affect how you handle classroom discussions.


Research confirms that student motivation is a key factor in successful reading. In Nurturing the Motivation to Read, authors examined the current research on reading motivation and engagement.

The Green Ribbon folktale reminds students who read ahead not to ruin the text for their peers. Print, cut, and tape the “Spoiler Alert” text and graphics to your green ribbon sign, to remind students what the ribbons represent.

Encourage sharing and conversation within their small-group Book Club meetings.

Purchase jumbo colored craft sticks to use as Talk Sticks during small-group discussions. This procedure by Laura Candler encourages equal participation from all group members so no one can dominate or disappear.


  • The Comprehension Experience: Engaging Readers Through Effective Inquiry and Discussion, D. Hammond and D. Nessel
  • The Inside Guide to the Reading-Writing Classroom: Strategies for Extraordinary Teaching, L. Blauman
  • Moving Forward with Literature Circles, J. Pollack Day (out of print)


Carbo, M. (n.d.). National Reading Styles Institute | Research. Research on the Carbo Reading Styles Program. Retrieved from

For more background on the National Reading Styles Institute site and home of Dr. Marie Carbo’s research on improved comprehension through hearing the text read aloud, visit

Hammond, W. D., & Nessel, D. D. (2011). The comprehension experience: Engaging readers through effective inquiry and discussion (pp. 95-97). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Waxler, R. P., & Hall, M. P. (2011). Transforming literacy: Changing lives through reading and writing (pp. 35-36). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group.